Dress Up Your Belly Bump for Halloween

Belly painting

Baby bumps can be useful as a book rest when reading in bed or as a pillow for a weary head, but this season, expectant moms are dressing up their bellies for Halloween. Forget about carving a pumpkin, they’re having their bellies painted as a pumpkin or decorated with other holiday themes.

Belly painting is a non-toxic, temporary art form giving prenatal moms a relaxing, creative, unique way of expressing outwardly what is happening inside of them or just being silly. Instead of just feeling as big as a watermelon, expectant moms are having their bellies painted as watermelons. If they’re feeling all warm and cuddly, they’re embossing their bellies with sleeping teddy bears and angels. Some see it as a fun way to deliver baby news: They surprise guests at their baby shower with bellies decorated with a stork, a baby wrapped in pink, and the words: “It’s a girl!”

Some designs are simple, but others are intricate as a spider’s web — full of swirls and flowing lines. To express a connection between mothers and daughters that one mom, Elizabeth Capone-Henriquez, was looking for, Anna Muslimova, a face painter/belly painter and good friend of Elizabeth’s, painted a tiny girl inside a bigger girl inside a larger woman, and so on, to represent generations of women continuing this magical circle of life. As an artist, Anna also loves the temporary nature of belly painting – that it washes off in the shower — and she loves working on the perfectly smooth, stretched canvas that a swollen belly offers. She also loves the personal connection with her “model.”

Beyond a fun use for a baby bump, Maryland belly (and face) painter Jenn Moselen says they’re a cool conversation starter at baby showers or Halloween parties, and can be photographed for a great keepsake. She’s painted protrusions (see her work above and at right) to match the baby’s bedding so photos can be displayed in the nursery once the baby is born. She’s seen other painted bellies photographed for baby shower or birth announcements.

When is the best time to paint your belly?  The seventh and eighth months make for a giant, perfectly stretched canvas, but some expectant moms do it as early as about four months and love it so much they do it four or five times.

“My designs vary each time I paint,” says Jenn, noting it can take from one hour for something simple to a lot more for an intricate design.  “It’s a good way for the mom to relax and put her feet up while creating a memory that will last a lifetime.”

Jill Caryl Weiner is a freelance writer. Her new children’s e-book “Halloween Stinks” is a topsy-turvy Halloween tale about a boy whose parents dress in costume for work every day so he asks, “What’s so special about Halloween?” Of course he finds out!  Available for the iPad and Kindle (Illustrated by Maria Stephens; From Mechanical Horse Productions).